Laura Stone-Mortimer, Thomas Mortimer IV, and their two young children lived with Laura's mother, Ellen Stone, in Winchester, MA, a suburb of Boston. The Stone women were very close. Laura's sister, Debra Stone, spoke by phone with Laura and her mother often, sometimes daily.
evening, June 14, 2010, Debra spoke with her sister and mother. But when she
called Laura's cell phone the next day, to her surprise Thomas answered.
"It's going to be a while before she can get back to you," he said.
Unable to reach Laura or her mother, on Wednesday, Debra went to their
Winchester home and found the door locked. She looked through a window and saw blood.
A bloody crime scene
Debra went to a neighbor's house, asked the neighbor to come back to the house
with her and called 911. Emergency workers arrived and broke into the house.
Inside, they found the bodies of Laura Stone-Mortimer, 41, and her son, Thomas
"Finn" Mortimer, age 4, lying in a pool of blood.
The body of Laura's mother, Ellen Stone, 64, lay in another room, covered by an Oriental rug.
arrived and followed a blood trail up to the second floor. There they found the
body of Charlotte Mortimer, age 2, lying in a pool of blood in her crib. In the
family room they found a large knife sharpener and a bloody knife with a bent
handle in the kitchen trash.
found two notes written by Thomas Mortimer IV, 43, one hand written, one a
computer printout. Police believed that sometime between 9 PM on June 14 and
7:10 AM on June 15, Thomas killed his family, then wrote his confession.
They found evidence he had attempted suicide. A car in the garage had two
hoses connected to the tailpipe.
Inside the car they found a knife, a hammer,
and a bottle of vodka.
However, Thomas was nowhere to be found. Police
learned that on June 15, Thomas had called his son's school to tell them he was
ill and wouldn't be in. He also called his workplace to say he wouldn't be in. Then he fled.
he was driving a gray Toyota Highlander.
Using cell phone towers, police
tracked him through several nearby towns. In Andover, he threw the cell
phone in the trash at a gas station. On Thursday, June 17, the car broke
down in Montague, MA.
A man and his son helped him jump-start the car, but became suspicious, called police and gave them the license number.
asked police in nearby Bernardston, a town of 2,100, to be on the lookout for
the SUV. Around 1 PM Bernardston Police Chief James Palmeri spotted the SUV.
Thomas tried to flee, but Palmeri pulled him over. Thomas did not resist and
said nothing when Palmeri arrested him.
The next day
in Woburn District Court, Thomas Mortimer IV pleaded not guilty to four counts
of first-degree murder in the slayings of his wife, his two children and his
He wore a bullet-proof vest, and several police officers surrounded him in court. The judge ordered him held without bail. Present in the courtroom were Mortimer's parents, Thomas Mortimer III and his wife Sandra, who lived in Avon, Connecticut.
A talented woman and a loving mother
In June 2010
Laura and Thomas had been married for almost seven years. After attending
Ithaca College as an Economics major, Laura Stone worked at CB Richard Ellis,
an investment firm with several offices near Boston. From 2006 to 2008, Thomas
had worked at Proxy Networks Inc, but he had been unemployed for almost a year.
This caused financial difficulties and forced them to postpone buy their own
home. However, Thomas had recently begun working at a Burlington technology
Timeline and a motive for murder
June 14, Thomas Mortimer III and his wife Sandra stayed for a second night at
the Winchester house to baby-sit Charlotte and Finn (left) while their parents were at
But by the end of the day, their parents were fighting on the phone. The
argument resumed when they got home. The issue:
Laura had found a notice that Thomas had bounced a check to the IRS
Mortimer's parents said when Laura confronted him about the
bounced check, he "remained calm and told her everyone was hungry, that
this was not the time or place to discuss this and that it could wait until
left at 7:45 PM. Three people later spoke with Laura's mother that night. The last call ended at 9 PM. This was
the last contact anyone had with any of the victims.
Pre-trial hearing: a gruesome summary
pre-trial hearing in September 2010, prosecutors presented their case.
Autopsies indicated all four victims has sustained "severe, cutting type
injuries." They said Thomas cut his children's throats and stabbed his
mother-in-law and his wife Laura, who had dozens of stab wounds and a broken
nose. Perhaps most
telling was his confession.
"What I have done is extremely selfish and cowardly. ... I am ashamed, frightened, relieved, surprised that I murdered my family, disgusted with myself." Of his two young children, he wrote: they are "in a much better place than they could ever be living with Laura and living with me. ... Looking forward to peace but already missing terribly Finn and Charlotte ... that will be my hell."
One chilling sentence, which his defense attorney tried to suppress but which the judge later released (quoted verbatim here): "I especially sorry to Finn that he had to witness these horrid acts. It was not supposed to be this way. I disgust myself."
Mortimer pleads guilty
On October 3, 2012, Thomas Mortimer IV pleaded guilty in Woburn Superior Court to first-degree murder by deliberate meditation and extreme atrocity and cruelty in the deaths of his mother-in-law Ellen Stone, his wife Laura Stone-Mortimer, and their children, 2-year-old Charlotte and 4-year-old Thomas "Finn" Mortimer V.
He was sentenced to life without possibility of
parole. By entering
the guilty plea, he gave up his right to any appeals he might have had if the
case had gone to trial.
At the sentencing, Laura's sister, Debra Stone-Sochat (at right leaving the funeral of her family), fought back tears as she read her victim impact statement.
family has suffered an enormous tragedy. My life, my family's life, my
children's life have been so affected."
She described Finn as a sensitive boy with a great sense of humor, and Charlotte as a girl with "gigantic blue eyes which made you melt."
She ended by saying: "My mom and my
sister were my best friends. Love you. Miss you."
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"Father admits to gruesome killings," Kathleen Conti/John R. Ellement, Boston Globe, 10-04-2012